How to drink your own wine on holiday

How to drink your own wine on holiday


Drinking your own wine in a hotel requires a little stealth and forward planning. When you are in your own room you are free to drink whatever you please. Use the room minibar to keep a couple of bottles chilled or room service will usually deliver free ice and a bucket to your room.

One of the biggest rip-offs in any luxury hotel is usually the poolside bar. A rosé de piscine or dilute Pina Colada can set you back £25 a pop. Our VAP Pool Set (£75) comprises an unbreakable Kleen Kantine brushed steel vacuum flask and two steel, insulated wine tumblers. Pop your favourite wine in the minibar when you arrive and decant into the flask to enjoy delicious, cool wine all day by the pool.

You are not allowed to drink your own wine in the hotel bars and restaurants unless you pay a corkage fee – this is usually set at the value of the cheapest bottle on the wine list, so around £35. If you want to drink a bottle in one of the hotel restaurants (or any exterior restaurant) then it is better to arrange in advance with the hotel concierge or restaurant reception – use our VAP Corkage Service if you want us to do this for you. Ideally the bottle should be ‘special’ (a wine that has emotional significance or a decent £50+ bottle – not cheap supermarket plonk) and unavailable on the restaurant list. Citing a birthday or wedding anniversary will often help seal the deal – we are always having a milestone anniversary/birthday when we are on holiday! Some places do have a no corkage policy, but this is rare. A more usual scenario is that they waive the corkage charge altogether, but otherwise expect to pay £25-35. If you consider a £75 bottle may be marked up to £300 it is well worth a bit of forward planning. Always be courteous and do offer the sommelier a little taste if the wine is particularly interesting.

vin a porter
Keep cool by the pool with our VAP Pool Set
cruise ship vap

Cruise Ships

Unlike hotels, cruise operators are quite clear on how much wine you can bring onboard and how much it will cost you to drink it in public areas. Most of the more budget operators don’t want you to drink your own wine and VAP cannot be used. However, the more high-end lines give clear corkage guidelines.

The most expensive cruises have wine (although not necessarily good wine!) built into the cruise cost, so they are happy for you to drink your own (good) wine for free if you prefer as this saves them money.